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Better Brown Bag Ideas for Kids Headed Back to School
Written by August 20, 2009

Rachel Huber, MPH, RD

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

Better brown bag ideas for kids headed back to school

It’s that time again… shopping for school supplies, clothes, and healthy foods that your kids won’t throw away in the cafeteria. Start this year off right by substituting the boring turkey on white bread, apple, and baggie of pretzels with some of these fun, good-for-them foods:

Sandwich Substitutes

  • Whole-grain* pita pocket stuffed with tuna or chicken salad (made with a little mayo, dried cranberries, and finely chopped nuts)
  • Rainbow pinwheels made by spreading cream cheese on a whole-grain* tortilla; topping it with roast beef or turkey, thin carrot strips, and a few leafy greens; rolling it up; and cutting it into slices
  • Whole-grain* bagel (or 2 whole-grain mini bagels) with small containers of peanut butter and jelly for dipping
  • Egg salad on a whole-grain* English muffin
  • Ham, cheese, and a dollop of brown mustard on a whole-grain* bun

Note: Keep these foods cold by putting an ice pack or frozen drink (100% fruit juice box or water) wrapped in paper towel in the lunch box or brown bag.

Snack Substitutes

  • Baked tortilla chips and salsa
  • Whole-grain* crackers (like whole-grain goldfish-shaped cheese crackers) and hummus
  • Reduced-fat (2% milk) cheese stick
  • Colorful veggie spears (sliced carrots, red/green peppers, cucumber) with light ranch dip
  • Fruit kebabs (grapes, melon, berries)

Sweet Substitutes

  • Trail mix (dried fruit, nuts, whole-grain* cereal, and small chocolate pieces)
  • Kiwi fruit (slice in half and serve with a spoon)
  • Banana or berry bran muffin

Share your ideas!

*The words “whole-grain” should be number one on the ingredient list.

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